Today, we’re debuting the first post in a brand new series: Simple Swaps. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products featured below, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
If someone called you this afternoon and offered you $840 in cash, no strings attached — what would you do with it?
- Pay down debt?
- Use to beef up your emergency fund?
- Stash it away for retirement?
- Splurge on a special weekend getaway so you can cherish time with your family?
- Donate it to a cause or organization that is close to your heart?
Whatever your answer is, most of us can probably think of a way (or several ways!) to spend $840. However, chances are, most of us won’t receive such a serendipitous phone call this afternoon.
BUT. What if you could easily and painlessly save up $840 in just one year? A year from now doesn’t provide quite as much instant gratification as receiving the money today, but I think we can agree that having that extra money in a year is preferable to never receiving it.
The average American consumer makes 840 financial payments in a year. Let’s assume you have a similar number annual transactions (if you have no idea what that number is, I highly recommend tracking your personal finances with Personal Capital*! It’s free and easy to use). If you shave off just $1 from each of those transactions, you will save $840 in a year (for a more detailed explanation, read this post).
BUT. The million dollar (or perhaps $840?) question is — exactly how do you shave off $1 from each transaction? With some transactions, it’s pretty simple — skip one snack on your next grocery run, and you save at least $1 right there. With other transactions, it gets trickier. However, I propose that there are countless areas where most of us can easily and painlessly cut costs without feeling deprived or even being inconvenienced.
Hence, this series — Simple Swaps, where I will share some of the simple swaps that have lowered my household’s annual expenses. On their own, most of the swaps don’t save oodles of cash. However, the cumulative effect of the swaps has the potential to save hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
With that introduction, I would like to proceed to our first simple swap — the safety razor!
What is a safety razor?
According to Wikipedia, safety razors were invented the 1880’s so that men could shave at home instead of going to the barber. In 1903, Gillette invented and popularized the double-edged safety razor — and it hasn’t changed much since! Men still use them today get a superior (i.e. closer) facial shave.
To shave our legs, most of us ladies use a plastic razor (also known as a cartridge razor) with disposable plastic heads, as pictured below.
How much does it cost?
Plastic razors are not terribly expensive to buy — on Amazon, the Venus plastic razor pictured above costs $22. The recurring costs for the replacement heads, however, add up quickly. For the Venus razor pictured above, replacement heads are $18 for an 8 pack on Amazon, or $2.25 a piece. Assuming you change your razor head once a month, that’s $27 per year. And it can get even more expensive — some cartridge replacements (e.g. these) cost closer to $4.25 a piece, or $51 per year.
Safety razors generally cost more than a plastic razor. I own a Merkur, which is available on Amazon for $34. The real savings, however, is in the razor blades.
Are you ready for the the price for a replacement blade for a safety razor? It’s 7 cents per razor
. No, that is not a typo. You do have to change the razor blades more often than a plastic razor head. I’ve read that men usually swap them out every 5-6 shaves, but I find that swapping mine out every two week works well for me. Since I use two razor blades a month, my total cost is 14 cents a month, or $1.68 per year.
What are the potential savings?
I am going to assume that you don’t already own a safety razor. That means that you’ll have an initial investment of the cost of the razor handle, and the cost of the replacement blades:
TOTAL INVESTMENT: $41
Depending on how much your current cartridge replacement costs, you’ll likely recoup most (if not all) of your investment costs after one year. After one year, you’ll probably save over $25 per year.
- Approximate recurring annual cost of replacement heads: $27
- Recurring annual cost of safety razor blades: $1.68
Additionally, with proper care, a high quality safety razor should last several years and much longer than a plastic razor. Just be careful that you don’t on screw the razor head too tightly — this can cause the head to fall off!
What’s the catch?
Honestly, I think there are very few drawbacks to switching to a safety razor, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you pull the trigger:
- The blade is sharper, so it’s easier to cut yourself. You do need to shave a little more slowly, but I certainly don’t mind an excuse to spend a couple extra minutes in the shower.
- Many people caution that there is a little bit of a learning curve. it does feel different from shaving with a disposable razor head, but mainly you just need to shave more slowly and hold the razor at a 45 degree angle. I found this post by the Art of Manliness to have helpful instructions when I made the switch.
- You are not allowed to bring a safety razor blade in an airplane carry on. Most of us aren’t flying much these days anyway, but perhaps keep your old plastic razor handle for the next time you travel by plane.
For me, these points aren’t an issue. I switched to a safety razor five years ago and have never looked back! In my opinion, it’s all wins —
- It looks pretty and elegant in your shower
- The blade is sharper, so it gives you a closer shave.
- It’s easier on the environment (less plastic waste).
- It saves money.
For me, these are highly compelling reasons to make the switch!
How much money would you save by switching to a safety razor?